2008-2009 Projects

  • Economic Impact of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway System (GLSLS)Click to Download
    Dr. David Doorn, University of Minnesota Duluth
    This project proposes to evaluate the impacts associated with the existence of current Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway facilities. The project will build an IMPLAN data model and estimate the economic impact of both the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence Seaway, based on ports and industries in the region. The study region will include major ports and the Great Lakes region. The IMPLAN model will be utilized to derive the benefits stemming from the port system to the extended communities as well as throughout each state and the U.S. in general. The impact will look at which industries are directly impacted by the port systems and transportation sectors that extend from them, as well as the secondary economic effects stemming from the direct employment, output and value added measures. The effects will be reported as direct, indirect, and induced economic effects. Secondary impacts will be reported as indirect and induced effects. This evaluation can potentially be extended to include the value projected for future activities. The impact report will be of interest to all Great Lakes region stakeholders as well as for questions of national transportation policy. Reported impacts can be used to inform affected industries, St. Lawrence Seaway corporations, maritime industries involved with the Great Lakes ports, and government agencies that develop and maintain the Seaway infrastructure.
  • Year 3: Building Sustainable Solutions to the Issue of Ballast Water Treatment: Testing Relationships Between Propagule Pressure and Colonization Success of Invasive SpeciesClick to Download
    Dr. Donn Branstrator, University of Minnesota Duluth
    During the past century the use of ballast water by commercial ships has created a highly efficient, global transfer mechanism for invasive species. In an effort to eliminate ballast water as a viable vector, the U.S. Congress passed legislation that requires vessels to manage their ballast water through Ballast Water Exchange (BWE) or Ballast Water Treatment (BWT). It is widely recognized that no BWT technology can be expected to perform with 100% effectiveness. Hence, accepted standards will allow a certain level of biological pollution to escape in the post-treated water. Few experimental data are available from which to quantify levels of invasion risk associated with specific numbers of viable organisms released in ballast discharge (propagule pressure). This presents a serious challenge in identifying permissible thresholds for ballast water treatment technologies that will be environmentally protective. Our project experimentally evaluates the quantitative relationship between the size and frequency of populations of zooplankton in a new environment (propagule pressure) and their colonization success in an effort to help guide the International Maritime Organization in setting BWT standards for discharge. Experiments will be conducted in a series of mesocosms (each 1 m3 volume) housed at the Ballast Water Testing Facility in Superior, Wisconsin.
  • Cold Flow Testing of Biodiesel Blends with AdditivesClick to Download
    Dr. Daniel Pope, University of Minnesota Duluth
    There are several potential advantages associated with the use of biodiesel blends in shipboard diesel-powered systems: reduced overall emissions, reduced engine wear through increased lubricity, and reduced consumption of petroleum. However, the increase in cold flow properties associated with the use of biodiesel could lead to operational problems during cold weather operations in ship systems exposed to the external environment. The increase in cold flow properties is related to the gelling of fuel at higher temperatures. Cold flow additives are usually mixed with the fuel to prevent gelling and plugging of fuel filters. The cold flow properties of a fuel are quantified via Cloud Point (CP), Pour Point (PP), and Cold Filter Plugging Point (CFPP) tests. The proposed project would consist of performing CP, PP, and CFPP tests on varying levels of soybean-based biodiesel blends with and without cold flow additives. The specific “brands” of cold flow additives used in the tests will be determined via consultation with ship operators on the Great Lakes. The amount of additive required when using biodiesel blends as compared to no. 2 diesel will be quantified. Multiple tests will be performed to define the variability of the test results. Results such as these would provide guidance for the appropriate amount of additive to use with a given biodiesel blend.
  • Energy, Economic, and Environmental Tradeoffs Associated with Freight Transportation in the Great Lakes Region: Development and Application of the Great Lakes Geospatial Intermodal Freight Transportation Model Click to Download
    Dr. James Winebrake, Rochester Institute of Technology
    This project will build off last year’s successful development of an innovative, dynamic, network optimization model aimed at improving decision-making associated with freight transport in the Great Lakes region. The results of the 2007-08 project led to the creation of the Great Lakes Geospatial Intermodal Freight Transport (GL-GIFT) model. This GIS-based model allows for analysis of: (1) the economic, energy, and environmental impacts associated with Great Lakes freight movement, including the ability to make tradeoffs among different freight modes operating in the Great Lakes; (2) decisions related to various highway and intermodal facility infrastructure development; and, (3) decisions and policies aimed at improving maritime transport efficiency in the Great Lakes. The model provides a tool that allows users to conduct route analyses based on various network attributes, including: cost, time-of-delivery, distance, energy use, and emissions.

    This new proposal builds off of the GL-GIFT success, and is divided into two concurrently timed tasks. In Task 1, we will conduct several case studies that explore environmental, energy, and cost tradeoffs associated with freight flows in the Great Lakes region. Our hypothesis is that from an environmental perspective, Great Lakes marine shipping will demonstrate certain advantages when compared to other landside modes. These case studies will also help us refine our data and integrate with other data collection efforts ongoing through GLMRI.

    In Task 2, we will conduct outreach and a special workshop to introduce GL-GIFT to users. In both phases, we anticipate working with other GLMRI projects, government agencies, and the private sector to identify and improve the data supporting GL-GIFT.

  • Determining if Microbiologically Influenced Corrosion is Responsible for the Accelerated Loss of Port Transportation Infrastructure Click to Download
    Dr. Randall Hicks, University of Minnesota Duluth
    The hypothesis guiding this research is that microbiologically influence corrosion (MIC) is responsible for the accelerated corrosive loss of sheet steel docks and bulkheads in the Duluth-Superior harbor (DSH). While data from our field research leads us to suspect that MIC may be responsible for the accelerated corrosion seen in this harbor, they do not provide conclusive evidence. A controlled laboratory experiment to examine this possibility is now justified, considering that we have isolated a bacterium from these corroding structures which is potentially capable of causing the corrosion and that sulfate concentrations are now known to be higher in waters near structures with the most severe corrosion. A microcosm experiment will be conducted to determine if the activities of iron-oxidizing (FeOB) and/or sulfate-reducing (SRB) bacteria are responsible for the accelerated corrosion loss of port transportation infrastructure. Results from this experiment will help conclusively demonstrate if the metabolism of microbial biofilms attached to these steel structures is accelerating the corrosive loss of maritime transportation infrastructure in this harbor. This laboratory experiment is a departure from our field-based research and represents a new line of inquiry that will help determine the cause of this accelerated corrosion and guide mitigation efforts
  • Development of a Performance Evaluation Methodology for the Port/Terminal Sector Participation in the Green Marine Voluntary Environmental Program of the Saint Lawrence and Great Lakes Maritime Industry Click to Download
    Dr. Lynn Corson, Purdue University

    This project - a partnership between Purdue University, Green Marine and the American Great Lakes Ports Association - will complement and supplement the work completed to date by Green Marine in the development of its voluntary Environmental Program of the Saint Lawrence and Great Lakes Maritime Industry.

    The current environmental issues being addressed by ports and terminals include aquatic invasive species, greenhouse gases/pollutant air emissions, cargo residues and conflicts of use (noise, dust, light and odor). Each issue is defined by a recommended action plan for both collective and corporate actions and each has performance indicators established to measure up to five levels of performance by participants in Green Marine that seek “to minimize the environmental impacts of their operations and to continuously improve their environmental performance.” (Executive Summary, Green Marine Environmental Program, “Guiding Principles”)

    Members of the Great Lakes Environmental Committee (GLEC), one of two geographically-based committees of the Green Marine program and chaired by Co-Investigator Baxter, are currently discussing the inclusion of two or more additional port/terminal-related issues, which are expected to be identified by September 2008. The GLEC plans to identify 6 to 8 additional issues over the next three years.

    Through collaboration with Green Marine participants, its staff and other stakeholders, the project team will establish the definition and application of the indicators and levels of performance for the additional issues.

    The inclusion of the reference to “continuous improvement” in the Guiding Principles and the commitment of Green Marine to “encourage and support the adoption of environmental management systems to ensure continuous improvement” (Executive Summary, “Training R&D and Environmental Management Systems”) mandate that this feature of the program be emphasized in the project research. The level 3 criteria, “Integration of best practices into an adopted management plan…” underscores the importance of an EMS for Green Marine participants. This project will also provide technical assistance to participants interested in developing and/or implementing an environmental management system.

  • Expanding Regional Freight Information Resources for the Upper Midwest Phase IV, The Great Lakes Maritime Information Delivery System: A Resource for the Regional Analysis of Intermodal Freight Flows in the Great Lakes Region Click to Download
    Dr. Peter Lindquist, University of Toledo

    This project is the fourth phase of a long-term endeavor to develop and manage a comprehensive data repository and information clearinghouse for the maritime industry in the Great Lakes. The project team will continue work devoted to the acquisition, storage, and management of data involving vessel and commodity flows, port facilities, physical characteristics of the lakes, navigation facilities, and the economy of the Great Lakes Region. In addition, the next phase of the project will concentrate more fully on identifying gaps in the database and acquiring the necessary data to remove those gaps. Work will also continue on implementing the data delivery system more fully. The general objectives of the project include the following:

    • Continued acquisition and manipulation of highly detailed current economic data over a wide range of sectors at the county level in the U.S.
    • Acquire and incorporate the necessary technology for receiving, processing and storing AIS data for tracking vessel movements in the system.
    • Integrate Great Lakes waterborne commerce data with additional data acquired for a wider range of modes in the upper Midwest from other funded projects
    • Work with industry partners and other researchers to identify gaps in the database and identify data sources to remove those gaps
  • Great Lakes Marine Container Service Feasibility Study: Connecting Green Bay to Global Container Service providers serving ports on the St. Lawrence SeawayClick to Download
    Dr. Earl Ray Hutchinson, Jr., University of Wisconsin-Green Bay
    This analysis will investigate the feasibility of connecting the Port of Green Bay and its catchment area of approximately 300 inland miles to ocean carriers providing global container service accessing the Great Lakes via the St. Lawrence Seaway. An analysis of potential freight flows, user transportation requirements and container networks operated by Great Lakes vessels will be analyzed. A first year findings report will identify strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats for connecting the Port of Green Bay to global container service providers operating in the Atlantic service.
  • Erie Pier Re-Use Facility Phase II: An Optimized Cost-Effective Strategy for Increased Transport and Handling of Dredged Materials Click to Download
    Dr. Hongyi Chen, University of Minnesota Duluth
    Growing constraints on options for placing dredged materials at the Erie Pier CDF urged action on a plan for re-cycling the material being placed at the pier. A recycle operation was studied. The findings for the project “Process Re-Use Cost and Market Analysis,” which studied removal of dredged materials from Erie Pier CDF, reconfigured as a re-use facility, under a break-even strategy, will be presented by the Erie Pier Phase I team in the fall of 2008. Phase I of the Erie Pier project is based on cost minimization rather than profit maximization. Landed costs and re-use facility cost analysis from Phase I suggest that significant removal of fines material from Erie Pier may require additional infrastructure to expedite. Therefore, Phase II of this project, described in this proposal, will propose a cost-effective strategy for increased transport and handling of commodities. Infrastructure improvements will be suggested. A systematic approach will be used in developing the optimized strategy, so that findings from this project will continue to be of use as a model for other ports for the Great Lakes.

*Reports are in PDF format. Download the latest version of Adobe Reader.

Latest News:

Inland Waterways LNG Stakeholders Meeting, St. Louis, Missouri

The Great Lakes Maritime Research Institute (GLMRI) in conjunction with and support from the Maritime Administration, Department of Transportation, hosted a meeting of stakeholders to discuss the possibilities of using Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) as a marine fuel for the inland waterways".

Third annual meeting on regional Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) potential held May 21st

LNG experts discussed LNG uses and the safety culture along with their experiences as current users. The afternoon panel highlighted the potential benefits of using LNG, themed "greening the supply chain". More details here.

Meeting to Discuss Base Local Demand and Siting for an LNG Liquefaction Plant

Potential LNG fuel users from mining, agricultural, trucking, rail and maritime sectors met to determine if there is sufficient base load demand within a 200 mile region to warrant development of an LNG liquefaction and fuel transport, storage and distribution network centered in Duluth/Superior. Work continues to consider siting and determine supply chain demand. Presentations from the meeting

Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers Meeting Highlights

The SNAME Section meeting was held on Feb. 13-14 in conjunction with the Great Lakes Waterways Conference in Clevelandl. Read meeting highlights here